Two highly-ranking officials responsible for handling East Asian affairs left the Obama administration a few days ago. These two officials were reputed to be China threat deniers – blind about the Chinese government’s intentions towards the US and its allies, desperate to please Beijing, and determined to hide from the public the scale of the Chinese military buildup. The officials in question are Paul Heer, former national intelligence officer for East Asia, and Evan Medeiros, a “senior China specialist for the White House.”
For many years, China realists – including this author – have been working hard to reveal the true nature of China’s military buildup and its bellicose intentions towards the US and its allies. We have been toiling hard for several years now to obtain, and share with the public, the facts about Chinese military capabilities and intentions, rather than China threat deniers’ spin and wishful thinking.
Have you ever wondered, Dear Readers, why the Pentagon, the State Department, and the intelligence community have been dramatically downplaying the Chinese military threat for the last decade, especially under the Obama administration?
It was because many highly-ranking administration officials – up to and including then-SECDEF Robert M. Gates, then-SECSTATE Hillary R. Clinton, and these two officials – Paul Heer and Evan Medeiros – blinded by their naivete towards China – were determined to play down and hide China’s military capabilities and aggressive designs from the public.
That is why the US military and the State Department have been very late and very slow to respond to China’s huge military buildup. This is why key weapon platforms, including the F-22 Raptor, that would’ve effectively countered China’s military capabilities, were killed. This is why report after report from US government agencies – as well as administration officials’ rhetoric – was dramatically downplaying China’s military capabilities and offensive designs. This is why the US federal government was completely surprised – time after time – by China’s new weapon platforms, tests, and military capabilities.
But now that these officials have left the administration, the policy is slowly changing, as is the rhetoric. As Bill Gertz reports:
“The Obama administration appears to be in the early phase of a policy shift on China. Tougher rhetoric and policies, most recently demonstrated by remarks in Asia from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, coincide with the departures of two key officials long known for advocating more conciliatory policies toward Beijing.
Paul Heer, who for years held the influential post of national intelligence officer for East Asia, retired recently, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said. From his position as the most senior intelligence official on China, Mr. Heer was known for a steadfast bias that sought to play down the various threats posed by China in favor of more conciliatory views. His influence also is said to have extended to personnel appointments within the CIA’s analytical section, which critics say resulted in “groupthink” on China.
A second major personnel change was the departure last week of the White House’s senior China specialist, Evan Medeiros, who left after a reported dispute with White House National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice. Ms. Rice has a reputation as a prickly manager known for swearing profusely at subordinates. Mr. Medeiros was regarded by critics as among the most pro-China policymakers in the White House’s highly centralized foreign policy and national security power structure.
One should not celebrate too jubilantly yet, but this may be the first step in the right direction.
Also in the last few days, following China’s test of its WU-14 hypersonic strike weapon, some commentators have repeated the usual ballyhoo that the missile designed to carry it – the DF-41 ICBM – is only “in development” and not deployed yet, whereas it has already been deployed; and that the Chinese would have a heck of a time sinking an American aircraft carrier, even with anti-ship missiles, because the Chinese would need to detect the carrier, keep tracking it, guide the missiles towards it, correct the guidance midcourse because the carrier is moving, and then, overwhelm the carrier group’s defenses.
But detecting American aircraft carriers – the largest ships in the world – is extremely easy, especially with the Over-the-Horizon radars China has, and guiding missiles towards it won’t be difficult, either, using those radars, as well as satellites… not to mention Sunburn or Sizzler hypersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, which can be carried by Chinese surface ships, submarines, aircraft, and coastal platforms.
Visit this site regularly, Dear Readers, for more updates on China’s military buildup.